Major Jewish organizations launch unified position on tackling antisemitism online

The European Jewish Congress, along with major Jewish organizations working with the EU institutions – the American Jewish Committee (AJC), B’nai Brith International, B’nai Brith Europe, A Jewish Contribution to an Inclusive Europe (CEJI), the European Union of Jewish Students (EUJS) and the World Jewish Congress (WJC)- has launched a unified position on tackling antisemitism online, in response to the Digital Services Act consultation by the European Commission.

As the European Union looks to redefine its approach to digital governance under the motto A Europe fit for the Digital Age, maintaining a safe online space, free of hate and incitement must be a key priority.
The joint call offers 10 recommendations for the future legislation to effectively tackle antisemitic content online and demand higher accountability from online platforms and service providers.

Among the demands formulated in an Open letter to European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen are the push for platforms to adopt the IHRA working definition of antisemitism as part of their community standards, data collection and analysis to better understand the spread of antisemitism online, platform transparency with regard to algorithms, support for civil society actors to be effective parts of the conversation and a call to disincentivize profit stemming from harmful content.

‘Antisemitic hate speech and disinformation are proliferating online. The Digital Services Act is a unique opportunity to ensure a safe online space and we urge the European Commission to create an effective framework to combat hatred online and ensure accountability,’ said Raya Kalenova, Executive Vice-President and CEO of the European Jewish Congress.

A 2018 Fundamental Rights Agency survey on Experiences and Perceptions of Antisemitism among Jews in the EU found that 89% of respondents consider antisemitism expressed online as a problem and 80% of those experiencing antisemitic abuse have encountered it online. These worrying statistics have only been further exacerbated by the Covid19 pandemic which has created an environment ripe with disinformation and conspiracies.

A revised EU digital framework must tackle head on the role and responsibility of online platforms and must guarantee users’ safety.

See the full text of the common position here

Read the open letter to the European Commission in this link.

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